Although born in Venice, Franco was in Rome by the time he was twenty. There he made drawings after the Antique treasures that filled the city, but he also fell under the spell of Michelangelo and made numerous drawings after the master’s work. In addition to being a fine draughtsman, Franco was also an accomplished painter and printmaker. He often produced prints of his own designs using either etching or engraving, or sometimes a combination of both. Much of his career was spent in Rome and Urbino, but around 1552 he returned to Venice where he lived for the last decade of his life. He is sometimes known by the nickname ‘Il Semolei’.